Insights from the Teach the 1K Workshop

Our second, and main event, the Teach the 1K Workshop at Orbital on February 8, 2019. Photo by Nikki Sylianteng

In February 2019, Christina Xu and I convened Teach the 1K — a multi-event gathering of over 40 entrepreneurship educators and activators from a variety of backgrounds—academic, community-based, for-profit, non-profit—to teach them how to teach the $1K Challenge:

Design, launch and complete a crowdfunding campaign that benefits a community you’ve worked with over the course of the semester. The campaign should raise at least $1,000 from 50 different backers.

We ran this workshop because after collectively teaching for 7 years, we were at a crossroads with our work.

We’d seen how transformational the $1K Challenge could be as a teaching…


Friends, Backers & (for probably the first time ever) Orbital Members, Orbital Studios Alumni and SVA IxD Alums all in the same room.

Thanks to everyone who came out this week for the live recording of our 12th and Final Episode of the I Drink Two Beers and Try to Tell You How To Run Your Company. With that, the recording of Season 1 is officially wrapped!

Thanks also to all of our podcast sponsors: Twilio, Sendgrid, Skillshare and Gumroad, and especially to our drink sponsor for the evening, Descendant Cider!


Update: We’re live! Subscribe to our podcast here! Thanks to everyone who came out to our launch party!

TL;DR: Last February, I made a viral tweet, which has turned into a real podcast called I Drink Two Beers and Try to Tell You How to Run Your Company. Season 1 is 12 episodes and features Merit, a two-person startup based here in NYC.

Join us on October 23rd at Orbital for the launch / live recording of our 12th episode, featuring drinks by our friends Descendant Cider. Follow @garychou on Twitter to know when the podcast drops.

Me + the Merit co-founders, Randy Brown + Kirk Fernandes, recording our penultimate episode last week.

So, Let’s Recap.

This is the…


Essentially, this is why Orbital Studios exists.

Last week, we wrapped up our 8th cycle of Orbital Studios.

58 people from over 40 technology companies in NYC participated in our Studios for Senior Product Managers, Year 1 Product Managers, Engineering Managers and Engineering Directors (meta-managers).

The Studios are like a retrospective for your job—an opportunity for software development practitioners to collectively reflect on (and explore) the challenges of their respective roles.

Each Studio consists of a relevant set of peers from across the industry who have similar responsibilities (so they’re relatable) but who don’t actually work at your company (so…


Selected slides (published with consent) from a subset of our members’ collective 2019 State of the Orbital talks. Thanks to our speakers for sharing updates: Archie Archambault, Katie Smillie, Michael Grinich, Bailey Richardson, Ida Benedetto, Kevin Huynh, Nikki Sylianteng, Amy Reeder, Andrew Badr, Casey Gollan, Christina Xu, Cole Krumbholz, Jeremy Canfield, KC Oh, Alex Fisk, Anne Libby, Ben Smyth, Chris Choyce, Edlyn Yuen, JB Rubinovitz, Labib Rahman, Marc Brown, Randy Brown & Kirk Fernandes, Cordelia Yu, and LiJia Gong.

How to check-in with your friends, colleagues (and yourself)

We just wrapped up the early 2019 State of the Orbital — a biannual, semi-private ritual where our members deliver short talks covering:

  • what they’ve been working on over the past six months
  • what they’ve learned
  • how they’re doing
  • and what’s coming up next for the rest of the year.

The events are open to members and their invited guests, but we don’t advertise externally because they’re not intended to be performative experiences (i.e. content marketing fodder for Orbital). Rather, they’re effectively a mid-year personal and professional review.

This round, 30 members (including myself) participated. We spread the talks out…


Join us for Teach the 1K, a free one-day workshop for entrepreneurship educators and activators on February 8th, 2019 in New York City.

Over the past 5+ years, Christina Xu and I have taught Entrepreneurial Design at School of Visual Arts MFA in Interaction Design Program.

Drawing from our collective experience working with a range of entrepreneurs — from independent creators to venture-backed startup founders — our course takes a first principles approach to entrepreneurship education, focusing on teaching two distinct abilities:

  1. The ability to confront and navigate uncertainty: How do you learn to sail into uncharted territory, to make decisions with incomplete data, to be open to the options that have yet to reveal themselves?
  2. The ability to sustain and grow relevant…


Last month, I had the pleasure of returning to San Francisco to give a talk at Bond, a conference examining “how creators make a living through the internet”. This was a particularly special talk for me, as I unintentionally ghosted on SF and never gave it a proper goodbye when I finally left in 2013. So, I approached it as an opportunity to share what I’ve learned in the past 8 years of living and working in New York.

Through Orbital, teaching Entrepreneurial Design at School of Visual Arts MFA in Interaction Design and working at Union Square Ventures, and…


Lessons Learned from the $1K Challenge

We’re in the final weeks of Entrepreneurial Design 2018, and with the $1,000 Challenge now complete, the learning can now begin.

From Tony Chu’s Fail in Public, 2012

To kickoff that process, Christina and I have taken the students through a process of review and reflection in-class. To complete the synthesis, we’ve prompted them to blog their lessons learned.

We do this for a few reasons:

  1. You never know what you’ve learned until you’re forced to articulate it in writing.
  2. Cohorts not only provide support, but they afford a unique opportunity to learn from and with each other. …


Christina Xu leading the students through an ideation exercise early in the semester.

My partner Christina Xu and I are coming to the end of another year of teaching Entrepreneurial Design at SVA IxD, and the students just a few days left on their $1K Challenge campaigns.

There are some lovely projects here and I encourage you to take a look and become a backer if you are so inclined. You hold the key to making a grad student happy today:

Gary Chou

Fun guy @orbitalnyc

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